You know the one! The one that sends hands racing to cover sensitive ears and leaves mouths hanging open in shock that a person could use foul language in such a cavalier manner. It seems that I’m hearing it everywhere nowadays. Sometimes I fear leaving the house because someone, somewhere—a parent at the playground, the cashier at the grocery store, my pediatrician—will say it as if it’s an appropriate thing to do in polite company.
WAIT! What? You thought I meant “that” swear word? No, no no. I’m talking far more sinister than some silly four-letter word used when you slam your toe with a sledgehammer.
I’m talking about the nine-letter “D” word that sends shivers down the spines of toddler mothers everywhere!
Oh, it seems innocent enough. Actually to many it might sound exciting. A diversion from the boring work day. A diversion from the humdrum household chores. But mention it to the mother of a tiny tike and your bound to see head shaking and hand wringing and moaning.
It seems simple enough. When a child is too young for reward and punishment like his older sister (No DS to take away, no lollipops to
bribe reward with) you simply attempt to divert his attention to something else. Seems so easy and ingenious!
But here in reality, its hardly a walk in the park. Case in point: My son decided grandma’s end table picture frame was too irresistible to leave alone. I moved them and proceeded to stack blocks like a crazy women as his bottom lip quivered. Seeing the 4 foot high tower swept him into my diversion and the tantrum was prevented. Right?
Sure. Until he started using the blocks as projectiles to throw at his sister’s head. And let me tell you, my boy has got a good arm! So I dove into Diversion 2.1, which involved oohing and aahing as I scribbled in a coloring book. He was once again easily hooked and spent exactly 2.9 seconds coloring in the book before attempting to Van Gogh the fireplace, the wall, and once again his poor sister. I wasn’t about to lose to an opponent who weighs less than my left foot, so I searched deep into the cobwebs of my mind for the perfect solution.
“Where are your shoes?” I said (or more accurately shrieked like an injured cat.) “Shoes, Brutus! Lets find them!” I was bordering on lunacy, but I had to divert his attention. It’s what EVERYONE says to do.
Luckily, Brutus is a child after my own heart and his shoe-love reaches far and wide. Unluckily, his shoes were easy to locate and we had to go outside and play. He played and I diverted. Stay away from that pile of dog droppings, don’t eat the rosebushes, stop clawing at your sister’s eyes.
I’d finally had enough diversion for a day. There was only one solution. I carried him inside, plopped him on the floor, handed him the irresistible picture frame, told Grandma I’d buy her a new one, then fainted into the couch from exhaustion.
I should have stuck with the original plan. Pretend you don’t see, make amends later, and enjoy the hour (that you could have wasted chasing your child away from anything in his grasp) by watching TV and eating a giant bag of chocolate covered pretzels.
You know, sometimes expert advice and reality just don’t mesh.